Interview with Perfect Game USA’s Tyson Kimm

Since its inception in 1995, Perfect Game has provided tens of thousands of young baseball prospects with the opportunity to advance their careers on to the collegiate and professional levels. Tyson Kimm, a current Vice President and Partner for Perfect Game, has played an influential role in the company’s transformation from a small indoor facility to the world’s largest independent baseball scouting organization.

Kimm started at Perfect Game in 1996 as one of PG President Jerry Ford’s four initial employees in Cedar Rapids, IA. He has been highly involved with the growth and development of all Perfect Game events, including the newest venture from Perfect Game, the PG Super25.

The PG Super25 tournament series was announced in June of 2013 with the mission of keeping baseball a “Team Sport” for decades to come. By requiring teams to maintain a consistent roster from the qualifying tournaments, through the regional tournaments and onto the championships, the Perfect Game Super25 emphasizes team commitment, integrity, chemistry and the reward of winning as a team.

All amateur baseball teams from 9u-17u will have the opportunity to prove themselves as the No. 1 team in their region and represent that region in the Perfect Game Super25 National Championship.

Inside Pitch spent some time with Tyson to learn more about the PG Super25 and what it means for the landscape of amateur baseball in every region of the country.

Inside Pitch: Tell us about your background-What led to you working at Perfect Game?

I’ve been fortunate in many ways. I grew up around professional baseball. My father Bruce played, coached and managed in the Major Leagues. I was lucky enough to grow up in the clubhouses, play on the fields and watch games from the dugouts learning from the best. While it was really cool to be around Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, Barry Bonds etc., my fondest memories are of just being with my dad taking ground balls and batting practice.

Because of his career, I got to travel the country and play baseball in great places like Cincinnati and San Diego as a kid. I was lucky enough to play for great coaches and on championship teams. I played shortstop for Norway High where we won State every year but once, was drafted by Seattle in ’91 but chose to attend college at Creighton University. I was drafted and signed with the Phillies out of college and played a couple years professionally.

Jerry Ford called me during my last pro season and told me about all the exciting things PG had going on with its indoor facility and leagues. I knew I wanted to stay in baseball if my playing career was to be over and the rest is history. Nothing has been easy which has made each accomplishment more satisfying.

IP: Was there a definable moment in the early years of PG that you thought, “Wow, Perfect Game is really growing to play a major role in the game of baseball?”

TK: At first making payroll was an accomplishment. Some events though really stood out; our first World Showcase in 1997, the 1999 World Wood Bat Championship, our first Underclass Showcase and the first All American Classic.

IP: What is the most commonly overlooked/unknown thing about Perfect Game?

TK: We should have gone out of business many times and it was extremely tough in the beginning. The four of us; Jerry, Andy Ford, Jason Gerst and I are still here. If we didn’t have the passion for baseball we never would have stuck it out. Jerry deserves all the credit for keeping it together.

The other thing that people may not realize is how competitive we are. It’s extremely important that PG be the best at everything we do such as running events and scouting. We must keep our credibility and respect within the baseball community.

We look at the business as a game and losing is not an option. When things get chaotic is when our guys are at their best. We are really good at making adjustments on the fly. Our staff works late and does whatever it takes to run great baseball events for our customers.

IP: Tell us about what has gone on behind the scenes to make the PG Super25 a reality.

TK: Obviously, a venture of this magnitude takes an increased level of planning and due diligence. We try to stress an attention to detail with everything we do at Perfect Game, so there is a lot of work in the planning and development stages before we even post a tournament to the schedule. With the PG Super25, it is even more important because of the wide range of age groups in each of the 20 regions across the country.

We hired a National Director, Drake Browne, to join our company full-time in June. Drake has been working directly with myself, Steve Griffin, and many other full-time staff members to cover all aspects of the tournament series. Drake has then hired a number of talented, young individuals to form a complete management staff that is solely focused on the PG Super25.

Drake is in contact with all of our Regional Directors on a consistent basis. They really work together to ensure the level of quality that is expected from Perfect Game tournaments. Drake and his management team have even started to travel around to a number of the different regions, helping out wherever they can to make sure the tournaments are positive experiences for everyone involved.

IP: You mentioned having these Regional Directors in place around the country. Tell us a little more about this role.

TK: From the early stages of the PG Super25, finding the best individuals possible to serve as the Regional Directors was a major focus. The Regional Director is responsible for operating the regional championships for all age groups 9u-17u. They also run qualifying tournaments, and oversee other qualified tournament directors within the region to host as many qualifiers as possible.

We have been very lucky to find such great Regional Directors all over the country. They are all leaders in the region and the country for amateur baseball. With their experience running tournaments and the impact that they have within their specific regions, we are very excited to have them all on board.

IP: What do you think is the most important aspect of the PG Super25 from an administrative perspective?

TK: Everything that we do as an organization is a team effort. Our culture, which is much attributable to Jerry’s leadership, is a lot like an MLB organization in terms of the way we operate as a team. We all work together to ensure we host the best events possible, which is something that we have maintained with the launch of the PG Super25.

It’s important that the PG Super25 tourneys live on after play is finished similar to PG’s WWBA and BCS tourneys. We do that with prospect lists, team website pages, photos and some use GameChanger. We feel that it is the perfect compliment to our current elite events, and we are excited to bring the PG experience to more age groups and regions of the country.

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